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Studio Bednarski's revolving bridge wins Gdansk contest

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This ‘functional work of art’ by Studio Bednarski has been chosen for a new £1.5m crossing over the Motława river in Gdansk

The practice, working with engineers Schlaich Bergermann Partner, saw off six local teams to win the job in the historic port city in northern Poland.

Sitting next to Europe’s oldest surviving port crane (1444), the £1.5million revolving, ‘bird-like’ bridge will link the new development with the old town creating ’a new access route [and] a destination in itself’.

The design competition was launched last June by the city authorities in partnership with Multibud W Ciurzynski and Immobel Poland - the strategic partners for the development of Spichrzowa Island in Gdansk. The bridge is a part of ’development planning gain’ and will open up access to the Island, described as ’one of the very few ruin settings left from the time of the Second World War in Europe’.

According to the London-based studio, the design is ’a functional work of art’ which ’emerges as a water-based sculpture when the bridge deck is opened for navigation’. 

Practice founder Cezary Bednarski said: ’The massive, eminently logical and functional form of the Gdansk port crane facilitated vertical movement and speaks of the times when it was built. Our horizontally revolving bridge takes up this dialogue as a delicate horizontal counterpoint to the crane’s mass and verticality.

He added: ’Our aim was to align the design of the new bridge with the dynamics of the city, endowing it with unequivocal and explicit identity, all born exclusively of its functionality and structure, without any decorations.

’Drawing from the Baltic traditions we sought to optimise functionality not letting the bridge become a manifestation of an extravagant structural form.’

Gdansk bridge competition-winner by Studio Bednarski

Gdansk bridge competition-winning scheme by Studio Bednarski and Schleich Bergermann


The architect’s view

The main deck of the bridge, and the island, were conceived as abstract objects but they are open to symbolic interpretations, ranging from that of a bird with spread wings - as a symbol of the Holy Ghost as a reference to the bridge name linked to a street on the axis of which it is located - to that of a tomb for the crew of a Polish WW2 submarine lost in action and never found.


Technical data

Total length 49.31 m

Individual spans 28.85 m and 20.29 M

Total width 4.5 m

Usable width 4.0 m

Minimal clearance below bridge at median water level 1.18 m

Maximal clearance below bridge at median water level 2.22 m

Width of navigation channel 25.9 m

Turning angle 90º

Turning time 2 minutes

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